Viral Video: Meet Tom Cotton

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Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton on MSNBC's Morning Joe

He has a beanpole body and a good ‘ol boy manner. He speaks in a light drawl, smiles warmly and looks like everybody’s friend. He reminds me of someone who might work in the paint department of a Little Rock hardware store. But Tom Cotton is no lanky clerk helping you select a shade of interior latex. He’s the oily freshman senator from Arkansas who wrote, signed (along with 46 other Republicans) and sent to Iran the letter warning officials there against engaging in nuclear negotiations with President Obama.

Some have accused Cotton of treason, others of grandstanding, and I’m sure the right wing blogosphere has already anointed him a hero. But who is this guy, really?

He seems to have slurped the Mitch McConnell Stop Obama Kool-Aid, but the man Salon called “Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree” is more than a mere mini-Mitch. He appears to be a willing, jingoistic stooge for an unhinged GOP that's looking to start yet another war with a Middle Eastern country.

Watch Cotton's Morning Joe interview on MSNBC, in which he casually repeats the phrase “credible threat of military force on the table” along with other Republican talking points. While co-host Mika Brzezinski shakes her head, Cotton blithely ignores her questions, as if the very idea of this being a treasonous, or at least very dangerous act is unimportant. After all, Obama is not his president.

Cotton displayed his gung-ho theatrics after only a few weeks in office in this C-Span clip, in which he explains that the only problem right now with Guantanamo Bay is that there are too many empty cells. The straight-arrow Arkansan goes on to proclaim that terrorists can either “rot in Hell or rot in Guantanamo Bay.”

Cotton (the name is right out Dixieland Central Casting), like so many Obama-haters, shows little of his true colors in the 2014 campaign videos from his YouTube page, especially when he states in one that really, “I do like puppies.” In another we see him chopping wood, the pile a metaphor for Washington’s debt.

To give this whole affair some perspective however, we must turn to Jon Stewart, who unearths a similar undercutting tactic employed by the Democrats in 2007 during George W. Bush’s administration. The circumstances, however, are far from parallel. Bush was simply inept, while today’s GOP is dysfunctional … and batshit crazy.

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About the Authors & Contributors

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson

Rustin Thompson is a filmmaker, film critic and indie radio deejay. He enjoys strong coffee, red wine, IPAs and his wife and grown children. He is comfortable with the fact he will never be rich, but grows petulant if he thinks too much about it.